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(Trigger warning: violence)
I hope if I tell my story then more people like me will see that they are not alone. You can go through hard things but still survive.
When I was 19, my girlfriend died. It’s a long story. She was killed - beaten to death by a gang of guys. She was the only one who cared for me back then. She had taken me in since I was 16 when I was forced to leave home.
After that I became homeless. I slept in
It’s been more than a month since I actually did this walk, so let’s hope I remember the key bits! No excuses, really, except that I started work straightaway and this has been my first free weekend. But, (as Miranda says,) “On with the show!”
Balestier Road lies somewhat in between Toa Payoh and Novena MRT, but I wanted to be able to start from Moulmein Road, so I got to go past some really old buildings / houses and a particularly inter-faith row of places of worship.
Was trying to sneak a shot through the fence when the gate opened! Snapped a quick photo into what is clearly someone’s private residence… but I couldn’t help it, it was too cool.
The blue and cream paintwork of the Tan Tock Seng Specialist Outpatient Clinics. This particular one sits on the property of the Tuberculosis Control Unit. Singapore, actually, isn’t considered a ‘first-world country’ by the measure of the WHO as we still have cases of TB. For example we had 1,533 new cases of TB in 2011.
Cheery factoid, innit? If you are like me and grew up in the age of TV dramas that over-played the dramatic physical symptoms of late-stage AIDS and tuberculosis, you’ll have the same skin-crawling fear of Kaposi’s sarcoma and seeing blood on tissue paper after coughing. Impressionable minds and melodramatic dying scenes, sigh.
Yesterday it rained half the day, so I stayed in and recuperated. As it was I was still really tired by the end of the day! Today was a great day, weather-wise, so I covered yesterday’s itinerary today instead.
Lin Tong, who stays in Choa Chu Kang, recommended that I check out the bus timings to make sure I don’t get stranded too long anywhere I don’t want to be. I stayed up really late trying to figure out the best way to find my way up and down Lim Chu Kang Road. It’s actually kind of nice the way Jalan Bahar leads right into LCK Road, and then LCK Road just goes on… until it ends at the beach. It makes it super easy to navigate - no getting lost if you have some passing fair sense of direction.
I have to say, I kept thinking of Choa Chu Kang - especially the cemetery stretch - as dark and gloomy and filled with trees blocking out sunlight. To my surprise, it was anything but.
Based on my assumption that it was going to be dark, narrow and basically scary, I was a little worried about having to walk one stop up from where 172’s route ends on LCK Road to where 975’s begins. (Note that 405’s route overlaps with 975’s for two stops - ‘Opposite LCK Camp II’ and ‘Chinese Cemetery Path 11’ - but it also only runs for a total of like, 2 months in the entire year.) So I was super relieved when it turned out to be hugely broad roads that were decently populated, and the sunny day was in equal parts cheery as it was scorching.
And with that, the adventure began! Rest of the post under the jump-cut, again because it’s a massive photo-post ^^”
First day of my adventures at home! I decided to start my day by visiting a bit of Singapore that’s a bit of curiosity to me - the Nantah arch. As a cheena school girl my cheena school heritage is fascinating to me because of this country’s oppressive relationship with Chinese schools and the Chinese language.
The Nantah Arch
I took the train from Buona Vista to Pioneer to get to the start point, and stood by the windows to see what’s out there. I was summarily amazed by 1) how huge Jurong Lake is, and 2) how long it takes to get to Pioneer >< My condolences to NTU students. You have it bad.
Remember Singapore (by all means also a really great archive of old locations in Singapore) tells us there are two arches - an original one on Jurong West Street 93 and a replica that stands within NTU itself. My bad eyesight / probably mild dyslexia kicked in and I spent a lot of time being confused because Pioneer MRT station lies right along Jurong West Street 63… which is what I though I’d read off the website.
Thankfully, the Jurong Park Connector actually lists the Nantah Arch as a landmark on the trail. So I followed the trail along the MRT tracks, and upon coming out the other side of the Jurong Sports and Recreation Centre, saw the arch!
The Nantah Arch
But because I was confused, I wasn’t sure if this was the original or the replica… until I read the website again and smacked myself for messing up my ‘6’s and ‘9’s. Ya Bachelor’s degree already still cannot read numbers yarr.
One confusing aspect is that the replica is said to be in NTU’s Yunnan Garden, while right next to the original is a little playground called Yunnan Park. Cannot blame me for getting confused okay.
Another funny thing is that Remember Singapore had a picture of a plaque that is on the replica, which commemorates its unveiling by George Yeo. The original has no such commemorative plaque, and is next to a freaking playground and residential estate. I suppose that’s just one of the country’s many ways of tacitly-allowing-while-silently-disapproving.
The last confusing thing is that the original Nantah Arch is said to have been at the old ‘Upper Jurong Road’ - which now extends perpendicular to Jurong West Street 93. To a 90’s child who is not so used to the idea of roads changing location (although getting used to it thanks to constant construction), this meant I errrrr actually tried to follow Upper Jurong Road for awhile. Until I realised that I was heading into heavy military area. And decided it was probably a bad idea to carry on.
On that note, I saw and heard jets and helicopters flying overhead, probably from the SAFTI Institute nearby. Pretty cool.
Here are some photos of the walk along the way! Jump cut for the rest of the post so that people’s dashboards don’t die ^^
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